With the end of summer rapidly approaching, some families might be trying to get in those last days at the beach or lake, while others are in full back-to-school mode. But in south Forsyth, dozens of happy, curious youngsters sacrificed a day of summer to help families in need and learn about two local organizations who are dedicated to helping families flourish.
On Wednesday morning, a group of Carrington Academy summer campers met with representatives from Meals by Grace at Carrington Academy Midway in Suwanee and presented them with several boxes and bags of food items. According to Carrington Academy spokesperson Gabriella Tancona, the kids also donated $200 raised from a lemonade stand they operated at the school in June and July.
Later in the day, more campers from Carrington Academy Midway traveled to SAFFT in Cumming, bringing with them backpacks loaded with school supplies and materials for the children SAFFT serves. At SAFFT, the campers were given a tour of the building and talked about the importance of helping out less fortunate kids and families having a hard time.
One camper, 8-year-old Brandon Lange, said he has learned from his family and teachers how important it is to help out the community. Lange said that he brought a backpack so someone else could go to school with it.
"If they don't have it, they can’t go to school," he said. "I hope the kid that will get the backpack will have a great school year.”
Case Bennett, a camp counselor at Carrington Academy Midway, said that what Lange said is exactly what they want campers to get out of the charity drive event. He said that the spirit of volunteering and community support is built into the ethos of Carrington Academy, and they expose kids to it as early as they can.
“It’s good to start out early, because some people miss that step, and if you can install it early, they will want to do it later on," Bennett said.
According to SAFFT Programs Coordinator Ashlee Jaacks, small charity organizations like SAFFT rely on many small-donation drives in the community to provide materials they need and spread the word about what they do.
"It’s really invaluable, just because we don't have the resources to be able to put something like this together," Jaacks said, as Carrington summer campers lined up for photos in the SAFFT gym. "So when the kids in the community come out and do things like this, it makes a huge impact on all the children we serve here in the county."
She said a lot of spreading the word depends on who they can show the importance of their work to. A drive like this, she said, is a perfect opportunity to show children the impact they can make in the community.
“It gives them all an opportunity to make a difference,” she said. “And it does make a huge impact on a lot of other kids who are less fortunate or are going through some tough times ... It gives them a better understanding of what it means to be a part of a community."